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Visualising, Communicating and Managing Risk in Large Infrastructure Projects

Name Affiliation Phone Number Email Address
Darryl Stephenson High Speed Two matt.butchers@ktn-uk.org
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The primary objective of this challenges is to developed improved communication and transparency of risk information in a succinct manner but with highly flexible, easy to use, interactive drill-down (and / or alternative views) to promote engagement and understanding of the risk "big picture" and offer the prospect of gaining greater strategic insights.

HS2 is a huge undertak- ing; Britain’s first new intercity rail- way north of London in 100 years; Europe’s largest infrastructure project. It will be the new backbone of our rail network. Once fully completed, around 345 miles of new high speed track will connect the city centres of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. The new line will include stops at Old Oak Common in West Lon- don, Birmingham and Manchester Airports and at Toton in the East Mid- lands between Derby and Nottingham. HS2 will also be integrated into the East and West Coast Main Lines, so HS2 trains will cross over to the existing network and serve towns and cities in the North of England and Scotland. This will open up access to the high speed network to around half the population of Britain and cut jour- ney times between the North and the South

Phase 2a and Phase 2b (Fig. 2) can each be considered as mega projects in their own right. The volume of identified risks is significant, however maturity of quantification is variable, primarily based on design maturity and project lifecycle stage. Note, the term risk is used to describe both threats and opportunities.

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2.1 Process Inputs

The RMS includes qualitative assessments for all active threats and opportunities

  • Current risk rating: probability and impact (cost; schedule; environment; reputation; health, safety & security; people; operational performance; benefit realisation)
  • Response actions (threat mitigation / opportunity exploitation)
  • ”Target” risk rating i.e. post mitigation

Risk relationship mapping to establish dependencies, however correlation coefficients have not been identified at this stage. Approach for this is currently under investigation.

2.2 Propagation

2.3 Interpretation and Communication of Results

Several visualisation options would be beneficial to communicating risk and developing more holistic risk insight. Some examples might be:

  1. Risk clustering on geographic maps
    • Plotting risks in specific locations within a defined area based on, for example, community area, chainage range, contract, WBS level, example shown in Fig. 3
    • Ability to print large format maps for static display in project room spaces or for workshops
    • Interactive selection and drill-down / expansion on geographic maps (including on GViewer)
  2. Risk relationship and dependency mapping with interactive what-if scenarios e.g.
    • Simple risk relationships: Parent-Child, Peer (two-way) - ability to visualise critical risk dependencies
    • What-if: For example, show the impact of deciding to approve a costly risk mitigation by changing the values for a risk and seeing how this affects its related risks
    • Effect of correlations: e.g. pick a risk, adjust values and see impact on correlated risks i.e. not necessarily those with direct relationships
  3. Risk Bow-Ties


HS2’s Enterprise Risk Management System (RMS) is Xactium [1]. All risks are recorded and assessed (qualitatively) in this system. Programme level risks have all been migrated to Xactium, however engineering / line-of-route (primarily) risks identified by HS2’s design consultants have not been migrated yet. This is anticipated to be complete for Phase 2a by mid-December.

Qualitative assessments are made in HS2’s RMS, Xactium. Quantitative assessment and modelling uses @Risk [2] for Quantitative Cost Risk Assessment (QCRA) and Probabilistic Risk Assessment for Schedule (Quantitative Schedule Risk Analysis (QSRA)). The output of the QSRA is used to model prolongation risk in the QCRA model.

Current risk reporting practice: Risk is reported from Xactium in a number of ways:

  1. Conga reports: A tool that allows for extract of RMS information and merge with pre-defined templates (Excel, PowerPoint, Word etc.)
  2. Xactium reports, Dashboards, and Heatmaps: Reports are text based with limited formatting, however they can be exported to Excel/CSV. Dashboards are better but do not provide great flexibility
  3. Tableau: Tableau reporting is in the relatively early stages of development. It provides more visually appealing reporting / visualisations based on monthly data dumps from Xactium.